Bad kitty, part 2: Cat repellent offers a quick fix
Cody and Stewie are great cats, with one major behavioral problem: Feline spraying. This is the story of one cat lover's quest to eliminate this smelly, embarrassing problem once and for all.
Less than a half-hour after Part I on my feline-spraying saga was published, knowledgeable readers were already chiming in with advice.
"Maybe you need to try an enzymatic cleaner (first) and then get a pheromone spray like Feliway," Sami Gowen suggested. "It's worked well in our house (four cats, female and male). And maybe invest in a black light to see exactly where all the urine is!"
I decided to try Sami's idea and made my way to Petco in La Cañada Flintridge in search of a spray. I was a little disappointed at the selection, but that's not important. I found a spray -- not Feliway; instead, Four Paws Keep Off! Indoor & Outdoor Cat & Kitten Repellent. Although it wasn't the exact brand Sami recommended, I decided to go with it, thinking "What do I have to lose?"
I treated the rug (and then tossed it in the washer) and the area surrounding the cabinets with OxiClean; when that didn't completely get rid of the smell, I followed up with another product, Urine Gone, that I had on hand. This eliminated the smell. (I haven't gotten on board with the black light yet, so it's possible I'm completely over-cleaning the area, or else not getting it all. I doubt the latter, though, because I can see the color difference.) Next, I cleaned the litter box and wiped it down with Fresh Step litter box wipes. (I went out of my way to avoid using Pine-Sol, which reader David warned against in his comment. Great tip!).
Here is where I think I went wrong: I wanted to get my boys used to the fact that there is going to be a rug in there, so I put the newly washed rug back in its original place. Then I doused the entire area with the spray. I sprayed like a maniac -- every inch of the rug, the cabinets, underneath the cabinet. Everything. No area was left dry. I knew if I hated the smell, so would they. And boy was the smell pungent!
Now it was time to wait.
Stewie made his way into the kitchen and it was hilarious. He walked around the entire area as if it were an electric fence. He wanted to cross the boundary, but couldn't. Inside I burst with joy. Finally I had solved this problem. Finally!
One area of concern, though, was how often they'd have to play this little tip-toe around the area. Their litter box is on one end of my kitchen, and their food is in a little alcove on the other end. About 10 to 15 feet separate the food area from the litter-box area, and I know Stewie's routine: He eats, he spends his alone-time in the litter box, and finally he goes for a second round of munching.
Cody, however, almost always uses the litter at night and doesn't spend as much time as Stewie does in the kitchen. But I wanted to see if the spray worked on him, so I lured him into the kitchen with a line of treats. (Yes, I made a line of treats.) Once he got into the kitchen, he made his way to the food bowls and walked right over the rug. He didn't stop. The scent hadn't alarmed him one bit. The repellent had failed when it came to him.
But the next day, there were no markings. No scrunched-up rug. No yucky scent. Nothing ... that is, until I returned home hours later. The spray had worn off, and the instructions (which I had forgotten) recommended spraying the affected areas every day.
I had used too much of the spray; the can only yielded two treatments.
Now what do I try next? As always, I'm open to hearing from you. Feel free to share your tips and personal experiences by leaving a comment.
-- Gerrick D. Kennedy
Photo: Cody at home. Credit: Gerrick D. Kennedy / Los Angeles Times